distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Guest Post: Stories That Scare Dia Reeves

(Design & illustration by Robert Roxby)

By Dia Reeves, author of SLICE OF CHERRY

For my Halloween recommendations, I was going to wax poetic on obvious stuff like The Exorcist (it was a book first, y’all) and any number of Stephen King stories, and possibly the prison scene from Killing Floor by Lee Child (had to read it with my eyes closed), but I decided to introduce you to some scary that’s a bit more obscure. And part of what makes these obscure is that they’re short stories, which hardly anyone reads.

“Snow Cancellations” by Donald R. Burleson

I recommended this as a great winter read, but it also works as straight-up horror. I read it about twenty years ago, and I still remember every bit of it. The boy in the story wakes up on a snowy day and waits eagerly to hear the radio announcer say that his school has been canceled, but he has no idea what he’s wishing for. The snow is alive, and the radio announcer, I think, is the voice of the snow. And the snow is EVIL.

“Watch and Wake” by M.T. Anderson

This one’s fairly recent. A boy gets a job watching over a corpse. He has to stay awake all night to make sure evil spirits don’t show up and eat the corpse’s face. The story is even weirder than it sounds; but you know what I’m like—I love me some weird.

“Disturb Not My Slumbering Fair” by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

This one was written years ago too, but it’s farm fresh, even by today’s standards. It’s about a chick who’s a ghoul (and how many stories have you read about ghouls?) who goes all around town trying to work out a way to snack on dead people without getting caught. I love the chick in this story. I think she was my first exposure to a female monster who not only wasn’t an evil sex kitten, but was also the hero—even though she does absolutely nothing heroic throughout the story. LOVE!

These stories might be hard to find. “Snow Cancellations” is in Best New Horror (1990). “Watch and Wake” is in Gothic! and “Disturb Not” is in Cautionary Tales. Check your libraries for them. It’s sad that I had to go back so far to find the scary, but if you look hard enough, you can always find something. Actually if you look hard enough…something scary will find YOU. [cue Vincent Price’s Thriller laugh]

Dia Reeves is a librarian and lives in a suburb of Dallas, TX. Her family, however, grew up in East Texas and has inspired her with many tales of the area. She is the author of Bleeding Violet and Slice of Cherry.

Visit Dia at diareeves.com.

Follow @diareeves on Twitter.

Comment on this guest blog and you’ll gain an extra entry for the big Halloween giveaway on October 31, containing prize packs of signed books plus books and ARCs donated by my publisher Penguin Teen!  

Here’s a sneak peek of some books I’m giving away:

You can keep track of all the “What Scares You?” guest blogs with this tag.

17 responses to “Guest Post: Stories That Scare Dia Reeves”

  1. I have to admit to sleeping with the lights on for a night or two after finishing Slice of Cherry. I had this niggling fear that I’d get sucked through the projector.


  2. Great post, Dia. *Makes note to self to check out her books*

    I love October–always brings out the closet horror fans! I recently read Maberry’s Rot and Ruin and can’t wait to get my hands on Dust and Decay. But then again, I’m partial to zombies ;o)

    There’s so much, in terms of options, for horror: short stories (from Poe, Lovecraft, Le Fanu, King…) to the great horror novel naissance of the sixties and seventies. I think horror shorts are experiencing a comeback. At least, I’m counting on it!

    BTW, Nova, loved Dani Noir. Really felt a connection with the old theater, probably because the town I grew up in in the 70s was on the cusp of so much change and one of the first things to be modernized was this old 20s-era theater.

  3. Thanks for the awesome spooky recs, Dia. Watch and Wake sounds very weird and cool. I’ve been wanting to read Slice of Cherry for awhile too. So many great scary books to read!

  4. I don’t read enough short stories, so this is good incentive. Thanks for the recommendations. And I have to say that Dia’s books are some of the creepiest I’ve read in a long time!

  5. I’ve never been much of a short story reader. Few anthologies hold my interest beyond a story or two (except Zombies vs Unicorns which was a win cover to cover).
    Scary tales can be such fun though, especially when they give you that creepy feeling!

  6. I love reading about all these peoples’ favorite horror stories partly for the recommendations of things I’ve never heard of and partly for nostalgia and confirmation that what I hold up as awesome really is/was. Thanks so much for all these posts!

    Also, uh, if you haven’t? Check out Caroline Cooney’s Fog/Fire/Snow trilogy. Losing Christina I think is the over-arching name. And LJ Smith’s Forbidden Game, which is so very much better than Vampire Diaries or even Secret Circle. And Lois Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall.

  7. This is such a neat event, I keep finding new books to check out. Great post.

  8. I’m not even sure what a ghoul is. I guess that’s another thing to look up at the library!

  9. I love short stories! I wish they were more popular. My favorites are Roald Dahl’s short stories. He wrote children’s books, yes, and they are fantastic, but his short stories for adults are so creepy and amazing. He should really recieve more credit for them.

  10. Thanks so much for the scary recs., Dia. I loved your books, creepy and strange, the perfect combination for a horror-loving high school librarian.

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